The recently-opened (2009) Dream Forest was once the site of a theme park named ‘Dream Park’, 북서울꿈의숲 (buk -Seo-ul-gum-UI-sup). The more developed part sits between two relatively small mountains (Opaesan and Byeogosan) which have their own sets of walking trails worth checking out if you’re in the hiking mood. The maps scattered throughout the trails can give you a good idea of where to go.
The Design Seoul Gallery tells the story of the Dream Forest, from creation to future plans for the fourth-largest park in Seoul – unfortunately, it’s entirely in Korean. Enjoy the sights, but understanding will be at a premium unless you’re good at Korean.
After exploring one side of the Dream Forest and climbing the stairs, there’s another side to the forest featuring a botanical garden.
The Forest also includes an observatory with a 45-degree-slanted elevator to take you to the top. The 2nd floor on the way up also offers some gallery space. Once at the top (a trip that involves multiple elevator rides), the view is quite nice, but everything seems so small. It won’t replace the Seoul Tower’s excellent 360-degree view of the city, but it’s still a chance to see things from higher ground.
It’s worth the visit if you’re already in this northeastern part of Seoul or enjoy a more authentic forest than other parks around the city. It’s already an excellent date place – with premium coffee available in multiple areas, and it may even work as a winter outing. If looking for a serious mountain hike through a forest you’ll be disappointed at the brevity of the trails; more casual hikers and nature lovers will enjoy it.
Directions: Take line 4 of the Seoul subway system to the Miasamgeori station. Take exit 1 to street level, then take bus 9 or 11 to Dream Forest. It’s about a 10-minute bus ride and stops right in front of the Dream Forest. Bus 149 goes to the Dream Forest from Seoul Station, while bus 144 stops at the Dream Forest from the Gangnam station area.